Board Member Spotlight - Don Cotner
Don Cotner is the president and owner of Cotner Farms, Inc., which produces, packages, markets and distributes eggs and egg products from nearly 500,000 hens. Don Cotner Farms, LP, is a partnership with his two sons and daughter that grows corn, soybeans and barley and manufactures feed on nearly 1,250 acres. The partnership also operates Boyd Station, LLC, which transloads soybean meal from rail to truck to supply local mills. The operation also extrudes local soybeans to produce high-quality express meal and soy oil used in the bio-diesel industry. We asked Don a few questions about what inspired him to join AgChoice.
One fun fact about your business or career:
I wanted to be a veterinarian when I enrolled at Penn State. As the only son in our family, my dad wanted me to come back to the farm. I agreed, but I didn’t want to dairy. We traded in the cows and bought an egg grader that began my career in packaging, marketing and delivery of eggs.
Why did you choose to work with AgChoice for your financing needs?
Increasing the size of our egg production and purchasing an egg grader and delivery vehicles required more money than our local bank could handle. Farm Credit was the obvious choice. At the time, it was the only choice.
Why did you decide to run for the Board of Directors?
My dad was asked to run for the Board. My dad came to me and said, “Why don’t you run?” I did.
How has the Cooperative changed through the years?
When I joined the Board, the cooperative was small with small loans. Dairy was the predominate segment with about 80% of the entire portfolio. Over the years, the cooperative began to specialize in loan types and sizes serving all segments of agriculture including forest products. Interestingly, in the early days, forest products was not considered agriculture; today, it’s a large segment of AgChoice business. Leasing and country home loans became another large business segment. Lines of credit also became more popular for many members.
Advice you’d share with other customer-owners considering running for the nominating committee or a board seat in the future?
Be prepared to represent all of segments and all sizes of agricultural business. Take as many courses, forums and workshops that AgChoice offers. The more you invest, the more you will gain. AgChoice will make you a leader and a more adept business person.
AgChoice has the pleasure of working with a dynamic Board of Directors that helps to provide strategic direction and oversight. Interested in becoming more involved with AgChoice? For more information on becoming a member of the AgChoice Board of Directors, view our Board Leadership Brochure.
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